Pauline (Polly) Friedrichs of Exeter, N.H. died July 14 at home, surrounded by loved ones. She was 92.

She was a beloved matriarch and community member at the First Unitarian Society of Exeter, at Riverwoods in Exeter, and of the world at large,

She will be most remembered for her quilt art, generosity, steadfastness and dedication to social justice rooted in spirituality. She was ahead of her time and a model for future generations, emailing, Instagramming and Zooming in her advanced years.

Polly was born on Nov. 16, 1928, in Whitewater, Wisc., the daughter of Paul Carlson and Dorothy Cooper Carlson. She met her husband of 62 years, Williams College professor emeritus Bob Friedrichs, at the University of Wisconsin. For more than 30 years, she and Bob spent their summers on East Chop, where Polly would walk the bluff every day at dawn, rain or shine.

She received a bachelor’s degree in home economics at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1978, after several years of teaching in Williamstown, she received her master’s degree in nutrition with a thesis about the decline in healthy diets in the U.S. Her always-fresh homemade bread and Christmas cookies were family favorites.

From 1963 to 1964, she and Bob lived outside Tokyo with two small children before traveling throughout Eurasia while Polly was seven months pregnant with their third child. The couple also loved living in Cambridge, England during 1970-71 and 1977-78. A trip to the USSR with her Congregationalist church through the organization Bridges for Peace also particularly influenced her.

She was always active in her community. She and Bob helped with efforts to expose racist red-lining practices. She volunteered for the League of Women Voters and the program A Better Chance in the Williamstown school district, and was an anti-war protester and LGBTQ+ advocate. She stayed informed through her daily cover-to-cover read of The New York Times.

She was predeceased by her brother Arthur Carlson, her sister/cousin Floy Dalton, and her husband Bob. She is survived by her companion of the past decade, Bill King; her children, Carl in Virginia, Paul in Exeter, and Robin Moriarty in West Tisbury. She is also survived by eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren: Sarah, Dylan and Gray Waldman, also of West Tisbury; Anna, Ella and Nell Bergholz; and Emily, Peter, Lief, Drew, Will and Liz Friedrichs.

A memorial service will be held in September at the Unitarian Universalist church in Exeter. For details about the date and time once they are available, you can write to the family at

Donations can be made to Médecins Sans Frontières, or Amnesty International.